2009 CEOs Who 'Get It'

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Davis Mullholand

President & CEO
CCI Mechanical Inc.

CCI Mechanical Inc. (formerly Climate Control Inc.) was founded in 1961 and employs about 325 people. Based in Salt Lake City, CCI is involved in the design, installation, and maintenance of mechanical systems for commercial and industrial facilities throughout the western United States.


Why is safety a core value at your company?

We have gone away from “Safety is No. 1” or “Safety is our priority” because our culture goes beyond that. We produce a quality product or service – safely. We do not do one without the other. We do not compromise safety or quality. We have implemented a policy committee to ensure we are consistent in our application of policies, and that we do the right thing for the right reasons at the right time, every time.

How do you instill a sense of safety in your employees on an ongoing basis?

Safety is part of every meeting we have. We produce weekly safety bulletins that are distributed with the employee’s paychecks and reviewed on the job as well. We have an incentive program that rewards going beyond the expected. Safety is an individual decision and a group effort. Employees, foremen, project managers, officers and company executives are involved in site evaluations and inspections.

We are always looking for safer, more productive ways to do our work and encourage employees to find the next best thing. We try new products regularly, and we are very aggressive with technology.

We also not only encourage, but require and empower employees to have enough guts to correct someone when they are being unsafe, and enough humility to accept correction with thanks. We are all on the same team and working toward the same goal.

What is the biggest obstacle to safety in your workplace, and how do you work to overcome it?

The biggest challenge has been helping employees understand that their decisions affect not only them, but their families, friends, co-workers, their co-worker’s families, and the viability of the company as a whole. That decision to take a shortcut may affect the company’s ability to even bid on work.

We do a lot of training to ensure everyone knows how to work safely and has the right equipment, but also knows the “why” behind it. We look at safety globally and act individually. We continually discuss accountability, responsibility and our culture.

Safety is the resource, not the police. We do pre-task planning, site evaluations, quarterly and daily inspections, and have given every employee, at the time of hire, written authorization to stop work if they believe it is unsafe.

The employees should feel the support behind why from every level of management. With an open-door policy, if that support is not felt, they can come directly to me.

How does safety “pay” at your company?

Our incentive program “pays,” but we believe that the real payoff comes from a sense of accomplishment, safety and family. We want each employee to be part of the team. We are a union shop and value experience. Many of our employees have been with the company for more than 25 years. To be part of a long-term team these days is unusual and, during these hard economic times, is a real value.

How do you measure safety? What are the leading indicators that show you how safe you are, and where do you see room for improvement?

We measure safety with pre-task planning, daily logs, inspections, weekly safety meetings, housekeeping, personal protective equipment use and a variety of other indicators. Our incident rates and other lagging indicators are evaluated and distributed weekly. We believe that when people know how and why and are empowered to act, we progress. We view safety as a journey, not a destination. We are continually looking for better ways.

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